The Motor Neurone Disease Association has set out how it intends to spend the £7.1m that it received in donations through the ice bucket challenge.
At an event held in London yesterday to celebrate the funds raised through the challenge last summer, the charity announced that it had committed to £8.5m of spending because it would use some of the funds to raise more.
The association said it would spend at least £5m on research, £1.5m on its care and support services for people affected by motor neurone disease, £750,000 on increased campaigning and raising awareness and at least £1m on emerging projects and volunteering.
The ice bucket challenge swept across the world last summer. People were doused by a bucket of icy water, then challenged two or three friends to follow suit and make donations to charity.
Speaking at the event Sally Light, chief executive of the MND Association, said this was a turning point in the 36-year history of the charity, which had an income of £16.8m in the previous financial year.
She said that although the charity could not claim to have started the challenge, it was aware of the opportunity the event presented and set about "fanning the flames".
The charity received more than £7m from almost a million individual donors in about three weeks, said Light.
As a membership organisation, she said, the charity wanted to consult its members on how the money should be spent. It received responses from more than 2,000 members to help it identify the key priorities.
Aside from the money committed to research, she said, the charity would use some of the funds to open a further two care centres over the next three years, to add to the 19 it already operated, with another due to open this year.
It will also use some of the funds to invest in awareness-raising and campaigning activities over the next two years. "This will help us to ensure that the needs of people with MND are recognised and met," said Light.
The event, held at British Medical Association House in central London, was attended by Princess Anne, who is the charity’s royal patron, and hosted by the singer and actor Michael Ball.